Invensys sells $650m metering unit to Jordan

British engineering and production technology company Invensys has agreed to sell its utility metering unit to the $1.5bn Resolute Fund managed by US private equity firm The Jordan Company.

(www.PrivateEquityCentral.net) New York-based investment firm The Jordan Company announced it has acquired the utility metering division of British engineering and production technology company Invensys for $650m.

Jordan completed the deal through its Resolute Fund, according to a press release. Senior and subordinated debt financing was provides by Credit Suisse First Boston and Goldman Sachs.

Invensys Metering Systems manufactures and sells gas, electric and heat metering and utility communication systems. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2003, the company had revenues of $505m. The acquisition was completed through a holding company called IMS Meters Holdings.

This is Jordan’s second deal since closing the Resolute Fund in October 2002 on $1.5bn. In January, the firm acquired electrical contact and metal stamping company Precision Products Sector from Cookson Group for an undisclosed sum.

The Resolute fund was the first time Jordan tapped capital through a limited partnership. The firm had previously drawn capital from its partners and from a publicly traded entity on the London Stock Exchange called J.Z. Equity Partners. The firm, headed by John Jordan and David Zalaznick, will invest in what the firm describes as diverse industry opportunities in the domestic middle-market sector, with transaction values ranging from $50m to $500m.

Fund raising for the Resolute Fund began in March 2002. Jordan hired placement agent Atlantic-Pacific Capital to raise the fund. Peter Zidlicky, a managing director at Atlantic-Pacific, described the raising as a “blow out” at the time of its closing. “We got $3bn in demand,” Zidlicky said. “But Jordan was disciplined. They promised not to go a dime more than $1.5bn, and they didn’t go a dime more than that.”

Zalaznick and Jordan left veteran New York buyout firm Carl Marks & Co. in 1982 to form Jordan Co. The firm has since closed 77 transactions. Zalaznick said he and his partners resisted the temptation to raise a fund in the late 1990s, when multi-billion dollar buyout funds were common, because they felt valuations were too high.

The metering industry has attracted significant private equity interest in the US and Europe this year. Just this week, global investment manager Investcorp sold water metering company Neptune Technology Group to strategic buyer Roper Industries for a total consideration of $475m. Investcorp acquired Neptune from Schlumberger in November 2001 in a $330m deal. Investcorp committed $170m in equity to the transaction.

In June, London-based Montagu Private Equity led the E420m buyout of Actaris from French private equity firm LBO France just 18 months after the French firm bought out the manufacturer of metering systems for E340m.

In April, CVC Capital Partners entered into exclusive talks with Germany utility group E.ON to acquire its energy metering business for around E1bn.